10/01/01 Ban the Use of Animals in Circuses
Request to the President of the Republic, to the Mayor, Minister of Forestry and the Ministry of Environment Protection
We are the witnesses of a growing concern among the citizens of Zagreb about the (mis)treatment of animals. This year's Animal Protection Day shows it best, as the whole week people talked about the animals everywhere and thousands of citizens expressed their interest in animal protection and supported our efforts.
But the citizens expressed a special interest in the campaign against the use of animals in circuses. After articles that were published in several big Croatian daily newspapers and several interviews at radio and television stations, the citizens reacted and their concern for the animals in circuses was obvious. They were joined by many groups, media, public figures and a forum of young people from one political party who gave their support.
As an animal protection organization, we ask the City of Zagreb to join hundreds of cities throughout the world that are opposed to the use of animals in circuses. City councils all over the world disapprove circuses that perform acts with animals and don't allow them to perform in their cities because of the horrible cruelty happening in the circuses during the training, transport and accommodation of the animals they use.
Animals in circuses are kept in chains most of their lives or confined to small spaces such as their transport vehicles. They are deprived of food and water in order to avoid a mess. Chained, confined, lost and often even sedated, they are 90% of their time waiting for the training or the show to begin. Whips, cattle prods and other "tools" are often used in order to make the animals perform.
There are no legal standards that would regulate the treatment of animals in circuses, their accommodation, transport or the tricks they perform. Let us not forget that these are wild animals that are not used to traveling, different climates, performing tricks or to a life in confinement. The animals participating in shows are miserable victims of human manipulation, whose physical, social and other natural needs are ignored by those who benefit from their exploitation. The recent incidents in which elephants killed or seriously injured their trainers led to a more serious consideration of the stress that the animals suffer if they are taken out of their natural environment and brought into the world of "entertainment," which for them represents a world of long life confinement and performance of difficult and pointless acts.
Circuses and other acts that involve animals do not represent preservation or education. Not are they amusing. Watching somebody suffer and looking at the pointless and painful movements caused by the beating could never be amusing. No, it is not amusing - it is a tragic.
We ask the City of Zagreb that the governing body of this city - whose citizens love animals and are not blind to their suffering - as well as the Mayor and everybody who is responsible for the reputation and appearance of Zagreb, to condemn such attitude towards animals. We ask them to prevent the suffering and misery of those animals and to ban circuses with animal acts in our city. Zagreb is a city full of good people who do not participate in the torture of animals and the protests in front of the Medrano Circus - which is currently in Zagreb - proved this, as well as the numerous signatures on our petitions all over Croatia to demand a ban on animals in circuses, and, finally, the compassion that the citizens showed for animals in circuses by offering their help in campaigning against it.
We ask for a ban in our city on circus acts with animals. Regardless of the possible profit they yield: that blood-stained money is less important than the suffering of innocent animals. Zagreb is not corruptible!
By such act, Zagreb would join cities in Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, the United States of America and other countries that have banned the use of animals in circuses and therefore do not participate in the horrible suffering and exploitation of animals.